Banking can be intimidating--I remember watching my mom balance her checkbook and thinking that I was glad I didn’t have to worry about adult things. Well, we’re adults now, and it’s time to worry about it.
Know Your Basics
I know this might seem obvious, but before stepping into a bank you should know the difference between a checking and a savings account, how to track your income and expenses, and how to write a check. Seriously, I had a TA last semester who didn’t even know how to write a check. Ask your parents, your employers or older classmates. They have done it before and will have advice. If all else fails, YouTube is a great teacher.
Research Your Options
Going with a big bank can have advantages. I love J.P. Morgan Chase because you can deposit money in the ATM 24/7, whereas some banks have ATMs that only operate during business hours. Chase also offers a college account, which offers many benefits for young adults, such as overdraft allowances (but be careful with this one!) and cosigner access (so dad can quickly transfer you money for that flat tire). Smaller banks, however, offer a more personal experience and most have some type of rewards program where you can get cash back for any ATM or miscellaneous fees.
Don’t be intimidated
The first time I walked into a bank to apply for a loan, I was petrified. I felt as if I wouldn’t be able to understand some of the banking terms. You have to realize that a personal banker works for you. They want you to trust them with your money. They also need people to take out loans--that’s how they make money. This is where the largest benefit of banking local comes in. If you ever have any questions about your account, you can call your banker directly and address the issue. A larger bank may have you talk to a series of computer automated responses before you can reach a teller, which can be annoying.
Look for what you WANT
Don’t be fooled by the shiny brochures and fast talking tellers. Recognize the services you need. All modern banks have a mobile app that makes keeping up with your finances a breeze. There’s no need for you to have the super-upgraded app that is tough to navigate. Keep it as simple as possible. Sure, quick pay sounds like a nice option, but make sure these extra features aren’t costing you extra money.
Taylor Nealy is a 24 year old student at Louisiana Tech University in small town Ruston, LA. Taylor is a senior English major with a concentration in Literature. Taylor thinks Game of Thrones is the best thing on television. She believes that perseverance are the keys to success, and that the person aware of their mistakes never gives up trying. Taylor steps up for Women’s Empowerment and mental health awareness.